Skills, Flexible Manufacturing Technology, and Work Organization

32 Pages Posted: 18 Nov 2002

See all articles by H. Frederick Gale

H. Frederick Gale

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Timothy R. Wojan

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Jennifer C. Olmsted

Occidental College - Department of Economics

Abstract

This study employs a national survey of over 3000 U.S. manufacturing establishments to explore associations between worker skill requirements and use of production and telecommunications technologies, work organization, and other management practices. Ordered probit equations show an empirical link between increases in each of six types of skill requirements, as reported by plant managers, and the use of flexible technologies and work organization practices. Technology use is most strongly linked to computer skill requirements. Work organization practices were strongly associated with problem-solving and interpersonal skill increases, suggesting that new work organization practices are broadening the set of skills sought by manufacturers. Traditional academic skills (e.g., math and reading) also were linked to the use of flexible technologies and work organization practices, but increases in these skill requirements were reported less frequently than were requirements for computer, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills.

Suggested Citation

Gale, H. Frederick and Wojan, Timothy R. and Olmsted, Jennifer C., Skills, Flexible Manufacturing Technology, and Work Organization. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=309049

H. Frederick Gale (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States
202-694-5215 (Phone)

Timothy R. Wojan

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

Jennifer C. Olmsted

Occidental College - Department of Economics ( email )

Los Angeles, CA 90041
United States

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